Grant will help enhance resources for adult learners and Mainers coping with job loss during the pandemic

HALLOWELL — MaineSpark is thrilled to announce a second grant of $50,000 from the Avangrid Foundation in partnership with Central Maine Power to enhance and expand our ability to connect adult learners (24-plus years old) with the education and training, information, coaching, and resources they need to secure meaningful, long term employment, boost their careers and/or recover from job loss or income reduction resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Avangrid Foundation also provided grant support in 2020.

“The Avangrid Foundation is committed to helping our customers and communities navigate a changing economy and workplace,” said Nicole Licata Grant, Avangrid Foundation executive director. “We know that throughout Maine there are dedicated adult learners and workers who have been impacted by disruptions like COVID and we believe that MaineSpark is one of the most innovative ways to collaborate statewide to help adult learners and reach individuals where and when they need it the most. We look forward to our continued partnership.”

The funds will be used to train, raise awareness of, and substantially grow the Navigator Network, a cadre of professionals who provide coordinated support for adult learners as part of MaineSpark’s Adult Promise Initiative. Adult learners can connect with a Navigator directly from MaineSpark’s statewide online hub, and access a wide variety of information on other programs and resources.

This grant also enables MaineSpark to launch an Ambassador program to increase the reach of the “no wrong door” approach and meet aspiring adult learners where they are within Maine communities. Ambassadors are trained volunteers in targeted organizations such as libraries, human resources, and social service non-profits who come into contact with aspiring adult students and provide basic information and crucial encouragement for adults.

“Ambassadors are the trusted community voices who will encourage and support Maine adults interested in further education and training,” says Amy Poland, professional development coordinator, Office of Adult Education, Maine Department of Education. “They are the ‘cheerleaders’ in the workplace and community that someone needs when thinking about their next step. The Avangrid Foundation’s support of the development of this program is key to reaching more Mainers.”

MaineSpark is a 10-year commitment by a coalition of organizations – schools and universities, nonprofits and foundations, government agencies and businesses – with a common goal: by 2025, 60 percent of Mainers will hold credentials of value (degrees and training) that position Maine and its families for success and meet the workforce demands of Maine employers.

The Avangrid Foundation is the primary charitable arm of AVANGRID, the parent company of Central Maine Power. The grant will be administered by the Maine Development Foundation, a member of the MaineSpark Coalition and Program Director for the Adult Promise program.